Daoism

Unlock-Zen-1

Unlock Your Inner Zen – Daoist Yoga with Elliot

Enjoy this 30 minute Daoist yoga sessions for your major muscles and nerves.

Flow with your breath through the sequence and release into your mind.

Practice yoga with Elliot!

Yoga with Elliot | Episode 3:

Beginner/Intermediate Yoga Class

Unlock-Zen-1
yoga with elliot: Episode 3 Daoist Symbol | by Dall-E

Postures (asanas) for weight loss and mental health.

You can tell I am a little bit chunky in this video and I like to gain weight during the winter to stay warmer. I’ll get back into really really good shape later; eating a lot during the winter is a favorite past-time of mine.

This video is for people who are interested in yoga, but haven’t really experienced it yet. Anyone that is in a high stress environment, or that has to drive a lot or sit at a desk during the day. It is very general and focuses on major muscles groups, such as hamstrings, quadradus lumborum, shoulders, hips, glutes, lower spinal erectors, quadriceps and inner thigh muscles.

Yoga is Healthy, practice a lot to cultivate Santosha, happiness.

Most will find this to help release some of the cortisol from the major muscle groups in the body; but I would imagine that military professionals, police officers, firefighters, doctors, and nurses, as well as other people in high-stress environments can benefit a lot from yoga’s ability to process stress[1]. Cortisol is stress hormone and it is stored in the blood stream in muscles. With focused and meditative breathing holding postures and flowing through sun salutations can greatly improve sleep quality, relieve cortisol from the blood stream, enhanced coping, self-efficacy and positive mood[2]. Further, on evaluating the published studies, it is concluded that sleep and cognitive functions are optimized by yoga practice, which brings about changes in autonomic function, structural changes, changes in metabolism, neurochemistry and improved functional brain network connectivity in key regions of the brain.[3] Yoga practices can increase multiple neurotransmitters and hormones such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine—all natural anti-depressants. [4] The practice of Yoga improves sleep architecture and mental well-being in young and middle-aged adults. [4]

“Yoga also boosts the innate antiviral response and brain health by enhancing natural defense genes and microRNA-29c expression. Notably, it activates telomerase, linked with cellular longevity, and promotes nitric oxide synthetase and neuroprotective gene expression, implying benefits for ocular health. In addition, yoga fosters DNA repair and cellular integrity maintenance by increasing oxoguanine glycosylase one protein and p53 gene expression.”[5]

What this means is that yoga helps your body to repair itself neurologically; in the brain neurological complexes that are required for sleep and the immune response and the body’s response to invasive micro-organisms. Eyes are generally thought of as a part of the brain; it is very interesting to see that this somewhat vulnerable area of the human body is augmented with inversions such as downward dog.

This 30 minute yoga class will get you relaxed and focused. The sequence is very balanced, in my opinion. Hold poses for longer! Experiment with your bodies endurance! And also be gentle and take it easy when you feel like you should.

Asanas and descriptions, some modifications

the yoga I practice is purely physical. Sometimes I end a class with a reading or something I am thinking, but I try to keep my teaching neutral.

  1. Tadasana – standing with intention in the feet
  2. Step back lunge
  3. Lizard Low Lunge
  4. Plank
  5. Chaturanga – specifics about alignment
  6. Half Lift – more alignment
  7. Forward Fold – release your neck and jaw and head
  8. Chair Pose – stabilize
  9. Warrior 3
  10. Lunging
  11. Pyrmaid Pose
  12. Triangle Pose
  13. Dragonfly Twist (make sure you get this on the second side!!)
  14. Standing splits
  15. Goddess Pose
  16. Meditation
  17. Savasana

References:

  1. Science Direct – Yogic meditation improves objective and subjective sleep quality of healthcare professionals
  2. De Gruyter – Using the Biopsychosocial Model to Understand the Health Benefits of Yoga
  3. National Library of Medicine – Sleep, Cognition, and Yoga
  4. MDPI – (Medical Yoga Therapy – read this!!!)
  5. International Journal of Yoga – Beyond the Mat: Exploring the Potential Clinical Benefits of Yoga on Epigenetics and Gene Expression

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Teaching Yoga as an Outlet for Creativity

Teaching with Passion

Over the past few months I have fallen into a new depth of relationship with teaching yoga. It is kind of parallel to my production of music in that I feel that my ability to express myself becomes more and more robust. All of the mediums I have at my disposal, including this website, are going to help me to connect in the world in a way that is so cool! I really enjoy being able to share all this stuff.

I’ve settled into 8 classes a week as a slight downgrade from the 9 I was teaching a couple months ago. A pace that I am glad to slow into because I need to continue my own yoga practice! It is a continual endeavor and honestly, I still like practicing my own yoga more than teaching. But that gaps gets smaller and smaller with time. I love the way that people take their time at the end of my class and the things that people say to me are so incredible sometimes. One of my students was telling my that he’s had tons of firsts in my class and that makes me stoked! It’s easy to get in your head about yoga and I try to involve the inner dialogue as little as possible. Feel that shit yo.

Evolution within communities

Anyways, I can’t believe how East Wind continues to create waves in the community and there are tons of people starting to sign up for classes and you can feel the community growing. The newer teachers are a big part of that and I’m super excited to teach alongside them. Obviously Scott, Tess, and Julie  hold down the fort, but its really nice to have some additional support to truly believe in and practice with. Ben and I have been friends for a while and I’m really supportive of him teaching yoga because the dude is a natural guru. Same with Francesca (also new to EW), I’m actually a little bit jealous about how well she connects with her squad. Anyways, both of them are going to be great teachers for me, once I get back into practicing in a studio. I just don’t want to practice anything but different ways to get into handstands right now, for some reason. Obviously that means that normal studio yoga classes aren’t quite “doin’ it” for me. It’s just me being an introvert.

Moving onto new things

Oh yeah, and Buck opened a new studio! Buck has always been a great teacher to me and I’m super excited to see how he evolves while doing his own thing. MomentOM is the name lol. I actually think that exact name was already taken by a studio in Pennsylvania ha. But shit man, he had like 60 people in that room in his Instagram post doing bicycles, it was nuts!!

Right now, I just want to be in my cave of yoga. practicing by myself, observing how the cogs of my mind reel and churn and do what they do. I need to spend the time alone, simply to post-process the amount of stuff that I am dealing with while creating all of this art. I want to stay as balanced as possible for this teaching yoga thing. Also, all that EDM music! Album on the way! (It might be called Galactic, or something like that..)

Also also, I am working on the free downloads of yoga classes. Hang in there. I might buy some software tonight to help, I want it to be working tomorrow.

Also also also, Yoga Tuesday nights at East Wind in Roseville are about to be off the chain! I’ve really tuned in my playlists lately #DJ

Well, of too spend my day off making music, first I’m gona run with a homie. Here’s to livin’ the dream!! <3

 

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"Rough diamond" by Unknown USGS employee - Original source: USGS "Minerals in Your World" website. Direct image link: [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rough_diamond.jpg#/media/File:Rough_diamond.jpg

Diamonds in the Rough

“A diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material; it can be contaminated by very few types of impurities. Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure. A material with superlative physical qualities, most of it original from the strong bonds between its atoms.” -Wikipedia

Sometimes, people rise above their circumstances to greatness. They are forged, hardened by pressure and time to rise above their surroundings and to become more than anyone thought they could become. I’ve been lucky to witness this in several people from all over the world. People all over the world have the capacity to be greater than their circumstances would “normally” dictate.

There’s a popular saying going around now: “Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.” I have come to believe that this is completely untrue and a complete idealization; all you have to do is look at the amount of corruption in much of our species to know that people often take the easy way out. Look at the US senate, can you really say they are doing the best they can with what they have?We are lazy beings, like all other mammals we want to be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sun and the food it grows. (in balanced quantities of course)

This isn’t to say that people will always take advantage of everything they can; instead, its acknowledging that there will always be both sides to the equation; those that take complete advantage and those that take none and in fact give willingly with no thought of receiving. I’ve witnessed a lot of both lately while I’ve been traveling.

Yesterday was a rough day for me; the traveling and budget have gotten to me and I’m exhausted (you can read yesterday’s article on my mental fatigue here. But the equation will always balance itself out. Today I met an absolute gem of a woman on my way to the Minh Mang tomb. Her name was Rei Nguyen.

Rei was a farmer and told us that she and her husband made around 5 million dong per month (about $250). She sent her kids to a school that cost about 2 million per month, in the city of Hoi.

My girlfriend and I rented a scooter for $4 and headed to the tomb this morning, pretty excited to see the most renowned tomb in what appears to be the cultural center of Vietnam. Largely affected by the Vietnam War (known locally as the American War), we were able to see a lot of the effects of the war in our travels, most particularly the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). There was a good amount of propaganda at the museum, especially geared towards the use of illegal chemicals such as agent orange, the US’s involvement in the war, and Vietnam’s victims. This is not to say there wasn’t massive effect from illegal chemical weapons used by the US, but there was no mention of Russia, or of the civil war in Vietnam. As usual, there was a scapegoat to take the blame and the US took full brunt force of it; it’s probably deserved. (again, I’m not saying I know the situation, but I’ve seen this before in WWI & WWII propaganda, Civil War propaganda, and pretty much every war in history is necessarily affected by propaganda where one country is blamed for the entirety of the war)

Rei’s english was incredibly good for anyone in Vietnam, let alone a farmer with an education that ended when she was 12. She works 10 hour days out in the fields with her husband and eats mostly rice and noodles, though she wasn’t malnourished as far as I could tell. She was extremely kind to us, showed us a shortcut to the tomb and then invited us to her small house by the river to talk and have some tea.

The tomb was incredibly peaceful; death has a way of making the life so powerful.  We walked around the tomb for a couple of hours in the scorching heat and humidity, then returned with her to her home.

Happy_in_Vietnam

I noticed she was lucky enough to have electricity and running water; he house was small, with wooden walls and a tin roof and she graciously offered us tea while we spoke about her life and how my life was very different from hers. She ultimately ended up asking for money for her children’s school, but it was far more of an afterthought than most of what I have experienced in Vietnam. Most will ask for money, then turn their back and mutter under their breath when you refuse their service. She offered us a kind smile and sharing of words and experiences that has been unique in my trip to Vietnam.

In this trip, I’ve met people poorer than you can imagine that still show kindness and refuse to take extra money no matter how hard you try. I’ve met people who I’ve gotten along with like I’ve known them my whole life.

One sterling example of this is one of my Muslim friends from Yemen; probably the one of the nicest and friendliest people I have ever met. He owns about six AK47’s at his home and Yemen and left to pursue a more peaceful education in Mysore. Yemen is currently in Civil war and he has been directly affected by it with the death of some of his immediate family members, yet still he pursues kindness and happiness relentlessly. I was with him while it started and there was definitely a lot of swearing and frustration, but it didn’t change his outlook. He goes against any stereotype I could have held against someone of the Muslim religion.

The owner of the Chakra house, Rajesh was like this as well; one of the nicest and most relaxed people I have ever met. He and I will be friends just like the day I left if I ever return to Mysore (which is highly probable). It’s funny how you meet people who you feel like you’ve known your whole life when you travel.

People are individuals and that’s how they should be treated. One is not representative of the whole, because there is so much variation in our species. So at the same time that there are all of these awesome people I have met, there are also some abominable ones.

Let me give you some examples, from history. I don’t like to talk about negatives in reality because people can change and who am I to judge them. With that said, world leaders are different and I feel at full liberty to judge their decisions. There are some terrible people in our world: Kim Jong Il, definitely not doing the best with what he has especially after his most recent execution; neither did Stalin, or Hitler, or Mussolini. Even American leaders smell of stank corruption that can ruin the people: George Bush, Dick Cheney, Nixon, Ulysses S Grant, Kennedy. Even the greatness of America has such powerful potential for corruption because of the essence of its power.

The truth is, humans will look out for themselves before others and in our modern world we absolutely HAVE to expect this from everyone. Think about it this way; even if you are about self-sacrifice, you would give to your children first and foremost the greatest opportunity to succeed in the world. We look out for ourselves before others and this isn’t a bad thing, it’s simply the reality of humanity. This is why the US is struggling right now, our system of checks and balances has become completely unbalanced in the wake of our economic prosperity in the 80s and 90s and leaders continue to take advantage of the people they rule just as they have since the beginning of time.

Unfortunately, this can even apply to our immediate family. You see celebrities with major mental and stability problems, likely because they can’t even trust their support systems and families anymore (this is just my observation, feel free to comment on it). It’s really sad, but that’s how money can corrupt people. Greed, it seems, is simultaneously the great human strength and weakness.

But on the other side, there are people who will give without even caring about what they receive; they give kindness freely and love as often as they can, as long as their basic needs are met. Sometimes, they even defy those. Remember to think of it as an equation, because that’s what the world we live in requires.

Writing yesterday made me feel so much better, today the same. I really hope that these comments are misunderstood, I am trying to be very objective and am applying my experiences to the greater scope of the world we live in together. I walked around today with a big smile and decided that I would kill my fatigue with kindness and it has worked. I feel a hell of a lot better.

Please let me know what you think of this article in the comments, or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/padayoga

I always love to hear from readers.

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tao_garden

The Wanderer, Part 12

Please read the first parts of the story here:
The Wanderer, Part 1
The Wanderer, Part 2
The Wanderer, Part 3
The Wanderer, Part 4
The Wanderer, Part 5
The Wanderer, Part 6
The Wanderer, Part 7
The Wanderer, Part 8
The Wanderer, Part 9
The Wanderer, Part 10
The Wanderer, Part 11

Tas woke up in confusion, his breathing was shallow and a cold sweat laced his forehead. The soft cushions and a mattress supported as he regained his breath, finally remembering where he was from the grey stone floor of the monastery. His training was getting more intense; Paj was relentless in his teaching, giving Tas task after task and leaving no extra energy in the wake of his teaching. It wasn’t even interesting, he just had Tas memorizing patterns and movements of the stars and especially the planets. He was getting good at plotting Mercury, but the other five or six were a complete mystery. Paj worked him tirelessly saying it was all useless until he could track the movement of the six prime planets and major constellations. Then, he would learn about the planets of the planets, which granted stronger sight, but were seemingly impossibly complex. Tas was exhausted, even Shu was pushing Tas’ limits now; Tas sighed with fatigue, but he was happy to be tired. The only times he had ever worked this hard before had been with his father in the final days of the harvest.

He couldn’t remember his dream, but he could feel the intensity from the ferocious beating of his heart and felt flustered. He took his time to catch his breath and hung his head to clear and calm his mind. He rubbed the back of his neck, straining to remember. He went to his washroom and prepared for the day, taking his time, then went out to meander through the hall for the morning’s ceremony, the dream forgotten.

After the ceremony, he met Fei at the balcony, which was customary. But instead of order Tas to go with Shu for the day, he motioned for Tas to follow him. Tas soon found himself entering the Acharya’s chambers. It was full of artwork, paintings on the walls and floors and all sorts of trinkets, more beautiful than Tas had ever seen. No doubt it was the work of the monks, but Tas wondered why Fei had so many.

Fei motioned for Tas to sit on a beautiful rug on his floor and began to pour him tea. He smiled, the same beaming smile that Tas had grown accustomed to. He wondered when the monk wasn’t smiling and couldn’t hide his grin. The old monk simply smiled.

“Tas, you look tired. How have you been feeling?”

Tas hadn’t seen himself lately, but he was sure that the monk must be right, “I have been working hard, master Fei. The training here is very difficult!”

Fei laughed. He didn’t respond, but sipped his tea instead, waiting a moment. “Is this the kind of challenge that you want?”

“Why, yes master Fei.” Tas lowered his eyes, “I felt never felt so purposeful before, I focus only on my studies and learning meditation. I felt one foot begin to float off the floor yesterday!”

“Good, boy,” Fei said happily. “You’ll be able to levitate within your first year, if you keep it up.”

Tas was confused by this. A year? He was only staying for a few weeks, until Yao returned. Did this mean he could stay if he wanted?

“Paj has noticed your proficiency for star reading. He has asked that you stay for an additional month to continue studying. He says he can teach you three techniques in next six weeks time, and Yao has agreed. He will return then, as long as you approve.”

“Of course I approve,” Tas said eagerly. Everything seemed to be working in his favor now.

Fei nodded at the enthusiasm and sipped his tea slowly. They rose together and Tas left to go meet Shu in the trees.

When he arrived into the circle of silent monks, Shu was nowhere to be seen. Tas chose a tree and sat under its cool shade, letting himself drift off into his meditation, letting his thoughts, his mind, and his body go. His breath would take care of itself. He drifted off into the ocean of his mind, lost within the nothingness at his own core. He didn’t know how long he sat for, but when Shu woke him, his legs were completely numb. They walked together from the circle of trees and entered the grounds, following the path to the garden. Pink blossoms floated in the gentle wind and the water of the pond grew still as Shu sat by the edge. He motioned for Tas to do the same.

Shu spoke extremely slowly, Tas could hardly understand, but he leaned in to the monk’s soft words. “You are strong, Tas. Your meditation is so peaceful…” She looked a bit distraught, but mostly thoughtful. “You practice meditation with Yao?”

“Yes,” Tas said. “The old man is infuriating, but his lessons are invaluable,” Tas thought back to their journeys in the desert. He was excited to begin traveling again, but he was more excited to learn here. His meditations were indeed growing longer and longer.

“You are now a powerful meditator Tas, you can set aside your emotions easily, see clearly, but most importantly…” Shu looked at Tas determinedly, “You can empty yourself of judgement. This is the only way to see the truth. One of the first steps towards understanding god, is understanding truth, Tas. Knowledge is the key to understanding god, but you must relinquish all knowledge to truly know god.” Shu grinned, knowing that he was now talking to empty space.

Tas nodded, but he didn’t understand. He would learn, with time. But he knew that the monk was teaching him something valuable, so he remembered his words like a puzzle to be solved for later.

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village wanderer part 8

The Wanderer, Part 8

Please read the first parts of the story here:
The Wanderer, Part 1
The Wanderer, Part 2
The Wanderer, Part 3
The Wanderer, Part 4
The Wanderer, Part 5
The Wanderer, Part 6
The Wanderer, Part 7

Tas rolled over; his pain returned in full force. His head was throbbing and his mind was lost. He opened his eyes sometimes, but would shut them immediately because of the throbbing pain shooting from the side of his head. In the depths of his agony, he could see the smile of the man with the razor teeth grinning in between bursts of pain from his spine and head. His body was useless.

For two-days, he simply sat and recovered in a small hut, the village women brought him food and water and they arranged for a few new cloths for him to wear. Occasionally, they would bring him a coconut and it seemed to make everything feel a bit better.

He didn’t leave the small space that was allotted to him; he didn’t think he could even if he wanted to. The pain in his head was overwhelming.

Tas was happy to eat and drink his fill after a few days of nearly starving in the jungle. The women brought him bowls of rice and noodles and vegetables and some fruit to match. But their tea was absolutely intoxicating, Tas must have had 6 full cups throughout the day. He also had a bowl of soup each night for dinner, which was a delightful mix of squash and lentils. He slept on a soft fur that one of the women had given to him and as he recovered, he couldn’t help but feel very lucky to be where he was.

On the third day he woke with his spine still in pain, but his head felt better. It was still a bit hard to breath because his ribs were bruised, but he could stand without too much pain. There was still a dull throbbing, but he soon found himself stretching his spine. It was painful at first, but as he warmed his body slightly, the tension faded. He was still very sore, but he was ready to be out and about.

He walked out of his little hut and immediately was surrounded by people. The villagers acted like they had never seen an outsider before and their eyes were on him everywhere he walked. He was pulled this way and that by a small crowd of children, until one of the women shoo’ed them away. Her body was tattooed, but her face was relatively free from ornamentation.

She took him by the arm to an older man; on his head was a crown of feathers and carved wood and his face was painted to look very important, red bolts of lightning on his cheeks and vertical lines of white on his forehead. His eyes didn’t leave Tas as the boy approached. He seemed to look at him like the old wandering man did, piercing through his skin to something deeper. Only this man had spear surrounding his chair, long knives and arrows laced the background menacingly.

The old man looked at Tas for a moment, then called him closer. The woman pushed Tas so that the older man could examine him. He spent several long minutes examining Tas’ skin, then his head, then his ribs and spine. He looked at Tas in the eyes and seemed to have decided something. He called out in a loud voice to the entire villages and they roared and applauded as one in response. Tas wasn’t sure what was happening, but the entire village seemed to come alive at the old man’s words. The men began to organize to leave, grabbing weapons and painting each other with face paint. The women began to prepare food, Tas began to hear them chatter and heard sizzling in the background and could smell their fires being lit. In 20 seconds, the entire village had roared to life.

The woman took Tas back to his tent, where he remembered his throbbing head again. The pain had come back, though not as strong as the day before. He spent the rest of the day resting and listening to the village prepare, but had no idea what for.

When the shadows of the afternoon became longer, Tas was yelled at to come outside by the woman who was tending to him. He couldn’t quite figure out what they were saying at first, but once he had left his hut, three women grabbed him and pulled him towards a fire that was roaring in the center of the village. The men had returned with various game, a few chickens, but most notably a boar that was being skinned by the vicious man who had struck Tas. He felt his blood boil as he watched the man tearing through the boar’s flesh with his knife.

The women led him to a seat beside the old man, then began to feed him. All kinds of drinks and different vegetables were placed before him and he couldn’t help but devour them. He had never eaten so well as the past few days, but this was different. He felt like a king with servants that were continually arranging his food for him to eat, bringing new dishes until he couldn’t eat anymore. Once he was done, he realized that the entire village was waiting for him to finish.

Something was very wrong here, Tas thought to himself. The words from the villainous man days before rung in his ears ‘no friends here’. He couldn’t help but feel that this was not in his honor, but for something else entirely, but he had no idea what.

After everyone had finished eating, the sun began to set. The men began to pull out pipes and pass them between each other, before passing them to the women and even some of the older children. Tas had smelled tobacco before, but this was different, a skunkier smell. He felt a bit disoriented after a while and could tell that the smoke was strong. The villager’s eyes turned a dark red as they digested and smoked. Finally, Tas was offered a pipe, but after one pull found himself coughing uncontrollably. He felt a strange peace begin to settle over him and he almost felt as he had with the old man in the last days in the desert. He thought back grimly at the old man’s final prank.

The men began to scuffle about and soon a big wooden bowl that was cured for fire was brought into the center of the fire. The old man rose from his chair to the silence of the village and began to put ingredients into the bowl, some that Tas could see, some that he couldn’t. He could make out various roots and leaves and other plants of various sizes and shapes. He added some dark green and black liquid into the mix and set it over the fire.

A few minutes later, when the sun was just setting down on the horizon, Tas was led to the bowl. He was given a ladle and told to drink and he did. It was a nasty taste, but they gave him a bit of fruit afterwards. The old man drank longly from the bowl, as if relishing the taste, which Tas found unbelievable. It tasted like a mix of cow dung and overcooked vegetables.

Once the old man was done, the other men in the tribe took smaller portions of the strange liquid then the remains were passed to the women and finally, a few of the eldest children.

Tas returned to his seat and after a time, began to feel very weird. He started to see lights that couldn’t be there and the whole world seemed to come more alive. He couldn’t stop staring at the stars and the setting sun and felt his entire being start to melt away. The entire world melted away and all he could feel was the nothingness inside of himself, a void that grew larger and larger until it was overwhelming and he felt a burst of light come forth from his chest and illuminate the entire village. He saw his mother and sisters dancing at their own village fire and felt an intense longing, time seemed to pass so slowly. He opened his eyes to look at the stars again and found himself floating amongst them, a light inside of him was burning bright. He felt as if the stars were his brothers, though he had forgotten them. His vision became more and more in control and suddenly, he re-realized where he was. The old man was right beside him and he seemed to be inoculated, looking up at the sky with closed eyes.

Suddenly, seemingly in response to Tas’ gaze, the old man looked over at Tas and yelled loudly, so the entire village erupted. He took Tas by the arm and then slapped him to the floor. Pain flared in Tas, though it seemed to be distant in a way. He could still see the old man in perfect detail, his skin seemed to hang like a bag around his body and it swirled and magnified as he stared. He was brought to his feet again, and was bound to a tall pole. Tas finally knew that this was a tribe of the sort that were in children’s stories in his village. He knew immediately that these men planned to eat him. As if in response to his thoughts, the grim man who had injured him before came to the fire, licking his lips. Tas began to struggle, but it was too late.

They brought him to the fire and he knew it was over. He thought back to the old man and wondered how he could have gotten so lost. He walked slowly with the men surrounding him until they dropped him with a yell, close to the fire. Tas fell on his face, but could hear the cries of the villagers, screaming. Hell itself seemed to break loose from the lips of the women..

Tas tried to roll over, but couldn’t and found a rock to untie his hands from the pole. As he finally was able to look up, he saw a flash of darkness moving against the fire, seeming to dance with its flames. He finally broke the bindings of his hands and used them to raise his head to see what was happening.

A group of villagers were backed up against one of the larger huts, one shorter looking man with a large spear threatened them. Tas would have found this comical in any other situation, but the villagers seemed terrified. He smelt burning flesh and turned to the fire to see the body of a headless man singing in the flames. He looked on the floor to see more bodies, at least a dozen men, most of the them dead. The rest would be within minutes because of their wounds. Gashes, cuts, and blood decorated their bodies, giving signs of the battle that was continuing now.

The fire just barely illuminated the short attacker, who seemed to fly through the villagers while tearing through their flesh. The cries of the villagers grew less and less until only a dark silence remained. The fire was growing softer and Tas was still having visions of his family, of the old man, and of the stars and the life around him. But this was interrupted by his thoughts of the attacker that he watched flow like a swan with his movement. Who was this godly man who could kill a dozen ferocious villagers at once?

As if on cue, the attacker approached Tas and to Tas’ surprise, gently untied his feet from the pole and sat him up to look at him. When Tas could finally see the man’s face, he gasped.

It was the old man from the desert. He seemed to know that Tas was out of his mind and left him for the time being, but Tas sputtered and tried to speak to no avail. He was amongst the stars now, feeling the eternal energies of the cosmos flowing through him as a stream through a valley. He wondered if the old man was a hallucination and if perhaps he was dead. What a curious thing, life. Tas thought to himself.

He came back down for a moment to see the old man again, whose gaze hadn’t left Tas’ face. He helped Tas to his feet and brought him to a nice place to sleep. Tas cried the whole way, not knowing if he was alive or dead, but knew that this man, who had saved his life and viciously slaughtered 20 men in the process was a part of god. He felt it as strongly as he had ever felt anything in his life. As the visions began to fade, so Tas faded into sleep, the world forgotten and blackness overtook him.

The Wanderer, Part 8 Read More »

work from http://www.aboriginalworkshops.com/

The Wanderer, Part 7

Please read the first parts of the story here:
The Wanderer, Part 1
The Wanderer, Part 2
The Wanderer, Part 3
The Wanderer, Part 4
The Wanderer, Part 5
The Wanderer, Part 6

Tas rolled awake in the midst of a hard rainfall, his canopy was beginning to flood because he hadn’t angled the roof properly. He had been alone for longer than he could remember, though he knew it had only been a few days. He had eaten well the night before; he found a mango tree and caught a wild chicken in the jungle. The old man would have disapproved, but he didn’t care. The chicken had filled him up more than any meal ever had. He salted some of the cooked meat from the night before and began to eat.

After his breakfast, his mind turned immediately to his surroundings and seeing that the rain was worsening, set out into the jungle.

His shoes were soaked in minutes so he replaced them with large fan leaves that served as a sort of boat for his feet as he waded. Tas soon learned to stay up slightly in the trees to see any available fruit. It also turned out to be a bit faster than walking on the mud. He spent an hour wading towards the south, he wished to see deeper into the depths of the wild. He could go home tomorrow.

Tas hadn’t seen a tiger since the day Vesu died. He still felt the fear in his body, a shaking that woke him in the night sometimes. He continued on his path for a bit longer, wading through mud until he fell over a tree root and was covered in filthy mud from the forest floor.

He groaned with displeasure as the mud slipped from his skin, his face was completely covered. He used one last clean spot from his shirt to clean around his eyes after using his fingers to remove most of the muck. Then he grabbed his water and washed his face. It was getting low, his original supply for a week had dwindled down to just a few days. He would have to find a waterhole, or some coconuts soon, which he had scarcely found in this thick jungle.

As Tas finished wiping his eyes, he became aware of a man standing directly in front of him. This man had hole in his ears and they were filled with wooden carvings, his face was tattooed with dark symbols of colored birds and some creatures that Tas had never seen, but seemed ferocious enough. He seemed to loom over him as he approached menacingly. The man seemed to move with pure muscle and in a short step took out his bow to aim it at Tas. He laced it with a long arrow and pulled it back, ready to split Tas’ head open.

But Tas stared back at this man, hard determination seemed to sizzle on his skin, a fire began to burn in his belly. Had he come this far to let this man end him here?

He rose and walked over to the man with his head bowed and moved the arrow away from its original target. The man whistled and four others moved from the shadows. The rain was still pouring, splashing all around and sometimes bouncing right up to splash Tas right in the eyes.

The men moved towards him and he kept still. He simply looked up for a second, put his hand on his heart, and said, “friend” with the same hard determination that he had met the gaze of the first man. These others were even taller, stronger, and more tattooed and ornamented in strange ways. One had holes in his cheeks, another had the skin of his hands missing and tattoos over the visible veins in his legs. He looked up to see the warrior’s face, a scar laid over one eye that was still functional. The scar continued down to his lip, forming a mean and permanent grimace.

They grabbed Tas by the shoulders and bound him, taking him through the jungle, further in the east. He struggled to free himself at one point, but the grim-looking man hit him in the back of the head, just soft enough not to knock him out. He remembered the sage in the desert and thought back to their last moments together. The old man did not seem so crazy now, compared to this madness. Tas knew of the eastern tribes, men who ate men, sometimes women and children. Some smoked all variety of herbs and plants, others spent days in silence, similar to his own master. He wondered where these men were taking him.

When they stopped at some coconut trees to refill their water supplies and take a short break, Tas waited patiently for the permanently frowning man to leave him. He couldn’t help but stare at the scar and wonder what it was from. After a bit, the man went into the jungle, probably to relieve himself. Tas immediately got up to talk to the first man who seemed to be in charge. Tas saw the dark tattoos around his eyes as he walked closer, until the man saw Tas approach and gave a quick whistle. Immediately, Tas was thrown to the ground and restrained. He looked up at the man and was immediately forced back down to the floor and bound. As he rose from the much he could just make out the tatoos of the grim man, felt his harsh laugh pierce through him as he swiped with his spear in a motion Tas couldn’t see, but all he felt was pain.

Tas fell to his knees, the air was knocked out of him so he could barely breathe. He looked up one last time at the man with the ornamented ears. The man smiled for the first time, a wicked smile of razor sharp teeth, red and bloody stained teeth, and two gold noserings. It was truly terrifying and Tas couldn’t help but show his fear. The man moved closer to Tas’ ear and whispered, “no friends here.” And then he bit off a chunk of Tas’ ear. He howled with laughter as Tas howled his pain; Tas was shaking and began to struggle ferociously against his captors. A moment later, the grim man approached Tas and smiled with rotten teeth that were as sharp as knives and now fresh with blood. He took the end of his spear again, this time swinging wickedly and knocked Tas to the floor and down into the depths of the dark.

The Wanderer, Part 7 Read More »

Jungle_Wanderer Part6

The Wanderer, Part 6

Please read the first parts of the story here:
The Wanderer, Part 1
The Wanderer, Part 2
The Wanderer, Part 3
The Wanderer, Part 4
The Wanderer, Part 5

Tas woke up in his small bed, laying flat on his stomach. His back ached from the day before, he had slightly tweaked it when throwing a box aside. He was full from the night before, having eaten two dinners to make up for the long work week. Today was sunday, his day off.

The sun was high in the sky before he got out of bed and he took his time to wash and dress. Not that it was much of an event to begin with considering he wore one cloth during the day.

He set out into a hot day, broken by mists and gusts of wind from the ocean. He went to the center of town, by the fountain and wells and bath houses to meet Annu and a couple of other coworkers from the port. They would spent the day outside of the city, pulled by a cart that Annu had arranged earlier in the week.

He arrived to see them already departing. Tas realized suddenly that they would not stop for him and ran to catch up, sprinting on the cobbled roads. He jumped from a risen rock onto the side of the wooden supports and found footing. He climbed up and swung his leg over the side, tumbling onto Dill, who then shoved and rolled him into the center of the cart.

Tas rose immediately, sensing no injury and shook the dust off his body then rearranged his hard and sat. They all laughed together as he did this, first Annu howled, then the rest followed.

“We thought you had forgotten us!” Annu exclaimed in between waves of ravenous shaking laughter. Tas couldn’t help but keep a grin for the next fifteen minutes while they reveled in the morning’s events. They left the city walls and forgot the city behind them as the moved south, into the jungle.

It grew warmer and warmer as they went deeper and deeper into the semi-dark, canopy of trees. The cart became rather rickety after a bit and so Tas left the cart to walk. A few minutes later, the cart-wheel snapped and they were forced to continue on foot, taking their food and supplies with them.

Annu seemed to be extremely frustrated by the breaking of the cart, but he kept to himself and helped to portion out the goods so they could take what they needed. “They journey home will take 3 extra days,” he said as Tas collected his portion. After they had distributed evenly amongst the six of them, they ate.

Annu pulled out a surprise of beer and some other rather harsh liquid. It was after mid-day and Tas had often seen the older men drinking at night. They called it boozing. Normally, he didn’t waste his money, but today he would drink with Annu. They clinked glasses and then took huge gulps, exhausted from the long haul from the city.

“You see my friend?” Annu asked, impassioned. “This is where you can truly find god.” He hugged and tree and then soon found himself covered in ants. Tas and the other howled with laughter as Annu’s cries of passion became cries of torture. He found his way to a large puddle by the base of a tree and then ants left him with countless red spots and bites. Tas truly felt bad, but let a last chuckle escape his lips before helping his friend.

“Careful,” Patel said sharply, looking straight at Tas. Don’t let yourself be overcome by the jungle. He looked off seriously as he finished, “I’ve lost a few friends out here… and I have a bad feeling about this.” He looked behind and all around, then moved his gaze up, into the trees.

Annu, finally recovering, said swiftly, “you think we are being tracked?”

“Yah,” Patel said. “My gut tells me yes.” But right now, there’s nothing we can do. He pointed towards the thick of the jungle, “we have to head towards the temple. There will be a clearing, and the ruins we seek there. Though, we will have to travel into the night. Which is not advised.” He looked harshly into the thick of the trees, his machete readied.

For the next three hours, they cut and hacked their way through the thick jungle brush, stopping every hour for a minute for water. Tas felt as though he had sweat every inch of his energy onto the forest floor, but kept finding more and more energy. He thought back to his days in the desert and found that this was not so hard in comparison. It made him smile to think of the old man and his teachings.

Every day, the lessons seemed to make more sense, but he could not say why. Everything else seemed to be more shallow and difficult at the same time without him. Though he was still angry about his last antic. Tas’ head still hadn’t fully recovered, though he felt that eventually it would.

They came to a clearing at last, but before entering the ruined temples, Patel stopped them. Ahead, through the last of the brush, Tas could see two white tigers, huge, roaming outside of one of the ruined structures. And when the second tiger moved away from the entrance, they could see three cubs, all very small. The mother seemed to have a roaming range, but Patel turned them around.

They were lucky to have seen the tigers before going any further. The entire crew started to move further north, towards the road, until suddenly Nilesh cried from behind to run. Out of the corner of his eye, before he could start sprinting, Tas saw a flash of white leaping towards them, far away but moving so fast. He turned and ran, as fast as he could. He saw Patel in front slashing through the jungle, and trudged through the thick mud and endless brush after him. Eventually, Annu caught up to them, and so did Nilesh, though Nilesh wouldn’t speak. Having called the alarm he had been last.

That meant Corle and Vesu were lost, or injured. But the other didn’t want to return and search for them, for fear of the tigers hunting them. Annu looked very sad for the rest of the day as this had been his idea. Tas tried to cheer him up, explaining that no one could have foreseen tigers in the future, but Annu would not hear it.

They spent the night further north towards the main road, paranoid and with little sleep. Tas could see Annu in torment and began to realize that Corle and Vesu had been his friends.

Tas supposed that he felt sad, but he also felt very lucky. He had survived a beast that would no doubt kill him at a moments notice. So strong, so powerful, pouncing towards them faster than he could look. He dreamed of its prowess and felt drawn to them in a way that he couldn’t explain.

In the morning they set out to leave, but Tas did not want to. He felt that he liked the wildness of the jungle, the loud noises and the endless brush. Annu looked at him like he was crazy. How would he eat? Tas replied that he did not know, but that he was sure he could find a way. Annu scoffed at him and left without a backwards glance.

Tas couldn’t help but feel a bit sad at his friend. He would not stay forever. He was tasked with returning to the old man, but he felt as though he should stay for a small time, to learn the wild ways of this place. He could hear the voice in his head, let go. And that night, he slept like a child after his meditation that was both louder and more peaceful than any he had ever experienced. But his stomach grumbled as he moved to sleep and he knew that in the morning he would find his food in the wild  and so he grinned, unseen in the dark and noisy night.

 

 

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A Dark Tree (wanderer part 4)

The Wanderer, Part 4

Please read the first parts of the story here:
The Wanderer, Part 1
The Wanderer, Part 2
The Wanderer, Part 3

Tas walked into the shade of a large tree, bigger than the others. It had strange markings, and the old man seemed to move slower than usual as the rose up the wooden footholds to the epicenter of the trees branches, which was a large platform. Tas knew there would be plenty of hiding places throughout the tree, this one seemed even more decorated than the last, in myriad and countless small ways.

He began to sit with the old man, but the old man moved quickly from his crouch and push Tas right in the chest. He tripped backwards and fell down the tree, tumbling head over feels onto the hard dirt below. Luckily, he fell down the side of a root and rolled well down the trees branches into a small thicket. He took a few breathes in the bush, making sure everything was okay and moved slightly. He could feel pain when he inhaled deeply, probably something was broken. He moved to stand and found the old man assisting him from the base of the tree, holding something to his head.

His vision grew blurry and he faded and laid against the tree, falling in and out of consciousness. He tried to wake up, but felt his head hit his shoulder and couldn’t remember why he should hold on.

He woke with a bit of a start, cold water dripped from his forehead, he tasted a bit, then opened his eyes. The old man pulled him up slowly, he could hear the laughing in the background. He grew angry, but was very groggy, so he soon forgot his anger.

A few minutes later, the old man pulled him to his feet. He was still a bit woozy, but he could see straight. The was a sharp, splitting pain in the side of his head. And he was quite hungry.

Disgruntled and determined, he pushed the old man in the back. He tripped and fell forward, though he braced his forearms for the blow. He rose slowly, grimacing, and looked back at the boy. He saw his face, then laughed and sat down. He motioned for Tas to do the same.

Tas sat as the old man gestured, no longer waiting for his permission. Their couple of months together had taught him enough about standing for what he needed.

“Why did you push me?” He asked the old man, confused, anger returning as he saw the nonchalant manner of the old man.

“You need little push.” He said, chuckling. “Me too.” He looked down at his forearms, scraped and a little bloody, but no serious injury. He laughed again.

Tas waited for something else, but he found that his anger left quickly. He didn’t seem to have sustained too much of an injury, but, he could not figure out the point in this lesson, it seemed so pointless. He looked long and hard at his master, as if willing him to answer with the force of his attention.

The old man, surprisingly, looked up at Tas. “Time for you to learn faster. You ready.” The old man nodded his head while studying the determination in Tas’ eyes. “I push because sometimes, you need push. Sometimes, life push when you don’t need. Good to be ready for pushes. So I help you be ready. Now, you need real push.” He laughed long and hard this time, his usual jovial and mysterious manner returning. “In the morning, you leave, big village, called Lothal. By sea.” He made a weird flowy motion with his hands, but Tas had no idea what he was referring to.

They spent the afternoon talking about what he would do in the city. He would bring back a big bag of rice and another of dried fruit. He would spend a month working and begging before to make enough money to buy the food and he would return with it. The old man knew an inn keeper that would give him a room, provided he gave him a silver each night. Each day, he was to earn 3 silvers.

Tas was excited, he felt as though he were finally doing something, far different from the last two months had been. He looked up to see the old man leaving, walking down from the tree and into the night. Tas couldn’t believe that he would go out into the desert while it was so dark, he knew that animals hunted. He could hear their cries at night. Yet the old man left without a glance back, his soft sway fading eventually into the dark of night.

Tas simply sat for a few moments, suddenly feeling so alone. He hadn’t realized it, but he had truly come to find the presence of the old man as comforting. They hadn’t eaten dinner either, and Tas had no idea where the rice could be hidden. He looked through a few bags, but found nothing. It was always hidden in such strange places.

He slept easily, with a bit of meditation before to forget his stomach. He would eat when he entered the big village the old man had called ‘Lothal’. He was to find a large man there, of dark skin, whose name was Shatar. He would be at a home with a blue door, and a sign above that called it ‘rest long, eat lots’. He hoped that eating lots could happen often, he was very tired of his small meals with nearly no variation. His body ached for more.

He walked from the tree wiping all traces of his passage, as the old man had taught him. His hunger was almost overwhelming, he hoped the city was not far. He set out towards the rising sun, where he knew to find Lothal in the east, by the sea.

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desert_wandering

The Wanderer, Part 2

Please read the first part of the story here: The Wanderer, Part 1

There was once a boy, who decided that he would follow a wanderer into the desert to learn about god. The boy’s name was Tas. After receiving the approval of his parents, he travelled into the desert in the apprenticeship of a wandering wise man to find perfect bliss, realization of the divine, and to learn god.

They walked until the small town  once a few hours had passed in silence, the boy began to ask the sage questions. However, the desert man did not respond. At first he listened, but upon hearing the boy’s questions, the teacher dismissed his words. The boy fell silent, angry that he had been duped into following an old man who wouldn’t talk.

Finally, they came to a tree, alone in the vast expanse of desert, rising into the setting sun like a monolith of entangled roots, branches, and a thick trunk supporting a massive web of leaves fanning out in all directions.

Upon arrival, the old man seemed to inspect some different areas of the tree, then he hit some things, moved some rocks, then he grabbed under a protruding root for a small sack. Inside, Tas could barely make out some old and dusty looking jars and a few scrolls. The old man grabbed one of the smaller jars and a small but very sharp knife.

Then the sage, slow as usual when not walking in the hot sun, took his time to uncover a hidden pot and then gathered some stones to place in a circle for a fire. The grass was a dead golden brown, and the sun was setting down into the horizon, purple and pink streaks of light shone through the powerful clouds illuminating the sky. Tas’ stomach rolled on itself; he was just starting to realize the effects of walking all day without eating. He clutched his stomach.

“We can eat now?” He said simply, not wanting to offend the sage, fearing that his meal might depend upon it. The sage looked at him for a long moment and waited. Suddenly, he laughed.

Tas was confused. Who was this man who had led him astray into the desert and seemed to know the way so well. He thought the man was holy and knew of god and that sort of thing, but he was beginning to think that this man was simply insane and very poor.

The old man laughed again, as if he knew what the boy was thinking. “You don’t think twice about god now. Funny, how easy we forget.”

The boy had no idea what the man meant. Yes, he was on his journey to god. What was the old man talking about? Surely he didn’t need to focus on his mission every moment of the day.

“I don’t think about god because I am hungry.” Tas said slowly, uncertain of the old man’s eccentric responses. He looked up from his arranging of stones, which he had been finishing for the last 5 minutes. He began to use the knife to cut wood from the tree for the fire. Tas wondered how long it might take.

The sage seemed to move even slower. He made no response to Tas, which just proved to infuriate him further. Tas’ stomach was beginning to really hurt now, he could not remember ever going a day without a meal.

He watched as the old man slowly started a fire, using a flint and tinder that he carried with him. Tas was preoccupied with his stomach, it was really starting to growl now. The sage heard the low rumble and laughed. He asked Tas with a freshly curious tone, “you are hungry, yes?”

Tas responded, “Yes, of course, can you not hear my stomach?”

“Yes, of course I hear. You are the only sound here for many steps,” he laughed to himself, Tas had no idea what the joke was. He only grew angrier each time the old man laughed.

He began to take out some rice, and some water from his pack and heated the water in the pot. He was in a jolly mood indeed, seemingly more so each time Tas grunted with pain from his stomach.

Finally, the rice was finished, the old man added some spices, some nuts, and some dried vegetables that he stirred in with the rice. A couple of minutes later, the old man finished splitting the second half of the rice and placed it at the boys feet. The boy moved to eat…

“Wait!” the old man exclaimed, pushing Tas’ chest up from the floor. Tas groaned furiously.

“I cannot wait! I have never been so hungry in my life!” the boy said, now beginning to feel the pain subside a little less than it was before.

“You want to know god?” The old man looked directly into Tas’ eyes, they seemed to see right into him, and Tas couldn’t help but shiver. Goosebumps lined his hand and legs even though the night was quite warm, but the old man continued to stare. He looked into the embers of the fire and remembered his father, his mother, and the suffering they endured. He remembered his grandfather, whom he had just barely know, but he knew from his father that the man was great, honorable, loved by the whole family.

“Yes, I want to know!” The boy’s anger seemed to spill out, all of his rage accumulated in the words and he couldn’t help but feel the quiet breeze settling around him. The night seemed to grow quieter and twilight was in full bloom, a nearly full moon bright in the sky.

“Good,” said the old man, slower than before. His eyes were closed and he seemed to sway in the breeze. “Then we wait.” Tas stared at the old man for a moment before realizing that he was not going to open his eyes.

“What do we wait for?” Tas said, agitation lacing his voice poisonously.

“Until you are the wind, you wait. Close your eyes. Listen. Breathe slowly. Listen.”

Realizing suddenly that this was his first lesson, Tas immediately shit his eyes and began to listen. But he soon found himself adjusting his sitting. He found that he could not stop thinking about how hungry he was no matter how hard he tried to listen. He started to play with his fingers, waiting for the old man, he couldn’t listen with this hunger in his mind.

The old man, without opening his own eyes, said, “Close your eyes. Do not think of your stomach. Think of god.”

But this only served to perplex the boy more. They were out in the wilderness, under a tree, in the middle of nowhere. How could he think about god here? So he decided to try one more time. He closed his eyes, and this time, took a big breath in. As he inhaled, he could feel his chest expand and as he listened to his breath, he could hear the softness of the wind playing with his breath.

Immediately, the old man laughed, and said, “Good! You know already to learn. This is good. Tomorrow we learn more. Now we eat.”

The boy had forgotten about the food, just for a moment. He had forgotten about everything. He could still feel the breath, but never in the same way. He re-realized his hunger when he began to eat, then almost immediately fell to sleep. He did not think of a blanket, or even of his home, only that one moment, where he had felt so free.

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